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pan_kara

Traq Guitars 2018

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All right, I've focused my threads on (mostly) one guitar at a time, but I think I'll join the popular "joint thread" movement. Maybe because since I finished the blue multiscale strat I don't have anything fancy in the works (until I start on "The Druid 2.0").

So here are the three builds that are running right now. The strat had a head start and then I wanted to finish it quickly so I shifted most of my attention to that, but now I'm back to the other three, that are moving more or less in parallel. So let me back-trace the builds a little and show you where I'm at. 

First is a bass - I need a 5-string bass for my personal recording projects (mainly rock and metal covers of various stuff that I'm doing since ~2000). So I figured I'd build one, making it multiscale to have a nice long scale for the low B.

Here's a pic of the body wood:

TRQ_1016.thumb.jpg.d68db23e3aab60cd794707286969f8bb.jpg

from 2015.. :blush

This used to be a book shelf, actually a couple of shelves - was enough for this body and some necks. I'm not sure that this is, I suspect oak.

Anyway - this is not quite thick enough for a standalone body, but with a quilted maple cap it's perfect:

TRQ_4788.thumb.jpg.b95d27d371e7380f8f5b02d3e95954f6.jpg

(I slapped some dark veneer between the layers to get an accent line).

The neck is plain old maple, it turns out that it wasn't exactly long (and wide) enough for the headstock after doing the scarf, so the headstock is some horrible patchwork of maple pieces - that will be covered by the maple cap so not a huge deal. 

TRQ_5169.thumb.jpg.6a9996cdaa08fc362656bd1e2eee676b.jpg

new way to thickness the headstock: run the outline with the router to a depth which is the headstock thickness + a few mm:

TRQ_5172.thumb.jpg.19aedbf855fe5a980fafd83fb792952a.jpg

then saw off the back part along the bottom of the route:

TRQ_5173.thumb.jpg.26c5aa6b72264ec2bdd296ea860c6f95.jpg

I think I then cleaned it up on a spindle sander with a fence. 

The fingerboard is bocote, slots cut by hand over a template printed out from fretfind using a complex purpose-built jig:

TRQ_5241.thumb.jpg.12e34537a6c0e14a8f0b285bf6196de2.jpg

Then glued to the neck, using LMI epoxy:

TRQ_5480.thumb.jpg.ca27d90da2384d6c861076cd1650e8c7.jpg

The template for my usual 12-th fret inlay marker pattern:

TRQ_5575.thumb.jpg.f8c20d785d40c80d6a65c0c3ce27f49a.jpg

Then pressing the frets in, cutting the neck pocket, rounding over the body edges.. I don't have pictures of that. Fast-forward to now - measured the bridge locations and drilled the holes for the ABM single bridges that I'm using on this build. Mounted the two external bridges to verify alignment (and make a sound  :D )

TRQ_9412.thumb.jpg.8769c0dfca21b838eec04225bdc3c9da.jpg

There you go, now I need to profile the neck and carve the tummy cut, which will be an interesting exercise since I made some weight relief holes in the body but forgot to photograph them and I don't remember if I took the tummy cut into account when laying them out.  In other words I don't know how deep I can go, exactly. Sounds like fun.

Yea, this thread should be called "how to be lazy and still get a decent instrument at the end". Or "don't be lazy or you'll end up building a crappy guitar". We'll see. 

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Ok, on to the second build that's currently on the bench.

I came across an unfinished mahogany Strat body in a guitar parts shop in Warsaw that I visit from time to time. I think it was discounted or for some other reason came into my possession. So I figured I'd build a simple mahogany strat and try to sell it. Then as usual I started dumping various ideas into the build. Not many. Starting with a maple burl veneer that I bought too long ago and it was time that it got used on something. Bye bye mahogany top

TRQ_5270.thumb.jpg.c2a2eee5646b29a1c92327b7f7886638.jpg

I want to blend the edges with a black burst all around the body, so I went around with black-tinted epoxy, also filling in some voids in the veneer:

TRQ_5549.thumb.jpg.ea5ff4563f2e0d7da820e1b5d5d70b08.jpg

 

On to the neck. I'm using the same ex-shelf oak (?) as in the bass body from the previous post. Here it is after a rough cut, routing the headstock shape and gluing on another piece of the maple burl veneer. And the truss rod slot. Here to hide the edges of the veneer I'm adding black binding instead of doing a burst.TRQ_5550.thumb.jpg.7f6cca0abe0504977d40d4d09f7f16d2.jpg

Binding slot done with the old stewmac base:

TRQ_5560.thumb.jpg.01e7ec52fff91edc33f95557b3ede71b.jpg

pre-bent and glued in with .. I forget what. Possibly acetone. This was a while ago.

TRQ_5565.thumb.jpg.11cc07df37f94285a9541c6affc4e5f5.jpg

So the fingerboard. This is a nice black piece of ebony, I decided to add cocobolo binding to it to make it just a little bit more fancy. I had an ancient strip of cocobolo binding that I once ordered added to a stewmac order, thinking "cool, cocobolo binding for a few bucks, might come handy one day!". I had since realized that one strip of binding will not allow me to bind anything (except maybe a headstock). In fact it wasn't enough even for this fingerboard, but I have a cocobolo fingeboard blank that's wide enough, so I cut a slice off and thicknessed it with a simple spindle sander+fence setup. 

TRQ_5493.thumb.jpg.823a042218e763dda07be41bdbd523d6.jpg

TRQ_5494.thumb.jpg.4b10c97a08a8fe74abc473428bbf5519.jpg

Then I cut the fret slots, glued on the binding with epoxy and radiused the board:

TRQ_5720.thumb.jpg.87410653c76ab929b95e32b80048530d.jpg

The fingerboard got glued to the neck (again epoxy), side dots were installed and the next step was the dot markers - a standard pattern made with abalone dots.

TRQ_5734.thumb.jpg.4d9b49c377bd3b87664941a12495f955.jpg

Actually I see now from the pic that this is still before radiusing (you can see the marks from the spindle sander that I used to thickness the board) - makes sense, I did the radius after the board was glued to the neck.

 

Another non-standard thing on this build is the neck joint. I was already poking some people in their build threads about a kind of "deep set bolt-on" neck pocket and the possibility to get a smooth neck-body transition with it. So I made the neck 3cm thick for this purpose, and a bit longer than the fingerboard - basically stretching to the end on the humbucker route in the body.

So here's my usual neck pocket jig (guest appearance by the neck after radiusing an d fretting):

TRQ_8878.thumb.jpg.d4161e60d8a4bccd2865614a1a0a22d5.jpg

The procedure is: align the neck with the centerline while it's resting on the guitar, clamp the mdf rails to the neck, then clamp them down to the body and also fix the spacing on both ends, finally take the neck out, optionally add some layers of tape on the inside to have a tighter fit, and route the pocket. Here's the layout with the neck jammed into the pocket:

TRQ_8879.thumb.jpg.043b728a5bf4311196ff0b1f4970ad65.jpg

The neck is going to be held in place with a set of 4 M5 screws into threaded inserts, moved back from the usual position:

TRQ_8880.thumb.jpg.eb53c707334e90fa0b521b031c73bcaa.jpg

I'm hoping that such an arrangement will allow me to make a seamless transition between the neck and the body. 

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30 minutes ago, pan_kara said:

I decided to add cocobolo binding to it to make it just a little bit more fancy.

Good call. That looks nice.

SR

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Thanks Scott, I do like how the combination turned out.

So the third build, here again I'm trying to make my life harder by attempting to solve the following problem:

I like to work with veneer/thin drop tops but on the other hand I hate how flat top guitars without an .. what was the name for that?? .. the little cut at the edge of the body for the forearm. Forearm contour? Dunno. No, I wasn't drinking. Maybe not enough coffee today. Anyway. I don't like the idea of having to bend drop-tops, nor the idea of having to run binding in strange ways over the angled part, nor the idea of simply cutting through the top. At least I want to try something different. The first iteration was already present on the "Etna" build, there I had the idea late in the build, but here I want to try to incorporate it early on, with the possibility of this being a standard feature of my future builds.

The idea is an angled/"V" top - so flat, but the two halves being at an angle to each other. But the way I want to do this is to cut the angle in the edges of the body blank halves so that I form the angle when glueing. This way I could for example glue the top to the two pieces and then join them together. But here there will be no top, just a poplar burl veneer, a one piece in fact, so this will go on later. 

Here's a mock-up illustrating the idea. The body wood is european basswood.

TRQ_0767.thumb.jpg.22611fb6c57280724eabcd7ed10bfc87.jpg

It's not super-obvious how to glue this, but if I make sure that the whole thing doesn't slip sideways and fold it can be done:

TRQ_0877.thumb.jpg.cf554d9c526730a74c255b63b0270742.jpg

Then I roughly cut the outline using a cheap Bosch jigsaw (still the only thing I have for this task)

TRQ_1015.thumb.jpg.1d28cc2af3fc8f76c76eb4a9b80821ba.jpg

and finally, veneer:

TRQ_5115.thumb.jpg.12af5bf9e4708ce8d7c3f803af6dd66b.jpg

as you might notice form the contents of this photo, I've become addicted to the method of ironing-on veneers by @Andyjr1515. I'm using is on both guitars in this thread, used it to veneer the mdf sides and fronts of a set of 80cm tall speaker cabinets that I built (to see if I can build a speaker cabinet) - this method is fantastic for large-surface tasks!

The neck is a standard maple-mahogany 5pc sandwich, but since I'll be trying the same deep-set trick as on the strat, I needed the 3cm thick neck so I had to cut off a piece and glue it back on at the heel side, forming the actual.. tenon I guess. 

TRQ_5731.thumb.jpg.80295c33558728a76193d5e35bf0040e.jpg

This is a later photo of the neck, but I don't have an earlier tenon shot. This features my router slip-up under the 17th fret marker :( will mostly be hidden in the neck pocket, I filled it vith maple veneer and epoxy later on, but it's not super-pretty.

So due to this tenon business I didn't have enough wood for the headstock so after cutting the scarf I used an off-cuf of the body that I split horizontally and "bookmatched", giving me enough width and correct thickness for the headstock. Headstock veneer matches the body:

TRQ_5192.thumb.jpg.b72d4ebebb53165c9b4f43dada5f0ddb.jpg

and the shape is using my 3x3 shape (and template) from "The Driud" flying V from a few years ago.

So the body and the neck will get 3-ply binding - peal/black/white. White on the outside. I did the inverse once (white on the inside) but I think this will work better. I spent quite some time pre-bending the laminated pieces and tuning the ends to get it as close to seamless as possible on the headstock:

TRQ_5574.thumb.jpg.0a0d0c623f42ef51891ef8812d96854a.jpg

Also on the fingerboard (not-pitch-black ebony)

TRQ_5724.thumb.jpg.5454fac5087aef45d83a4a957b6f0621.jpg

The idea was for the binding on the fingerboard and on the headstock to align and blend into each other, I think I got pretty close:

TRQ_5737.thumb.jpg.812303d903b6bd33f71e66b030c49471.jpg

better visible on the fret press shot, here I already shaped the transition a little:

TRQ_6751.thumb.jpg.afa4418d51078386dc10cbf0196fff05.jpg

Cutting the neck pocket was fun since there is no longer a flat surface to lay everything on, so I had to precisely position my mdf guides to be in the plane of the back of the guitar before routing. There is a second order effect coming from the fact that the sides of the pocket are not parallel to each other, so laying on the sloping top they actually produce a tiny upwards angle in the neck pocket, but it's so small that I could ignore it. In fact the final depth of the pocket was done withouth the jig (I couldn't go deep enough with is so I used using thinner pieces of mdf, laid down wider and perpendicular to each other, so that the router sat lower - and this surface was parallel to the bottom this time. The router bit was guided by the walls of the neck pocket cut in the step before.

It all appears to have worked perfectly:

TRQ_9344.thumb.jpg.b605118853b8224620e6a73e9ecf60a2.jpg

At which point I could pre-drill the tremolo hole and insert the tremolo block to check alignment, which I always like to do as early as possible:

TRQ_9407.thumb.jpg.3751fc6a3fe117352595f47a747973c4.jpg

This resulted in some deepening of the neck pocket (looks like my fingerboard is a bit thicker than my design was assuming). So now all is good and I can move forward with the tremolo routes. 

One thing not shown - the control cavity. I remembered to do it before flattening the back of the body, so that the cavity bottom is perpendicular to the top surface.

Right, another thing not shown - flattening the back. After the shape was cut I took off as much wood as possible using saws, chisels and whatever I could find, and then set the body under my router planing jig, making sure that both sides are at the same angle, and planed the bottom flat.

One thing learned - I'm contemplating adding the veneer at a much later stage in the build. By now it was impossible for me to not put a bunch of small dents in the top, which I will now have to fix.. I could probably hold off until all the routing is done and do the veneer right before cutting the binding channel and then finish sanding. Something to consider in the future. 

Maybe for some people who build faster and have more discipline this is not an issue, but here the veneering was done in November 2016 ... :blush

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I am digging a lot of what you are putting down on your third build here

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58 minutes ago, pan_kara said:

as you might notice form the contents of this photo, I've become addicted to the method of ironing-on veneers by @Andyjr1515. I'm using is on both guitars in this thread, used it to veneer the mdf sides and fronts of a set of 80cm tall speaker cabinets that I built (to see if I can build a speaker cabinet) - this method is fantastic for large-surface tasks!

While I'm deeply flattered and will, of course, accept the truth of that statement...it would be the type of truth that seems to be  becoming very popular with many politicians both sides of the atlantic. ;)

So, being really old-fashioned, and dipping my toe into a parallel universe where truth is 'a statement that matches the actual facts', I would more accurately have to say that I'm sure I will have stolen the idea from someone else :lol:

Having said that - and staying in that same parallel universe for a moment - it is indeed a very satisfying process isn't it  :D

Some great work here all over the place, by the way.

 

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I have spent countless hours sanding bowed or cupped glue-up back to flat...and here you are gluing one up intentionally bowed.:D

I does occur to me that you could glue that up square and flat, giving you better surfaces to route your various cavities from, and then remove from the top to get that shape the same amount wood you removed from the bottom to get it flat.

That said, it is looking very nice.

SR

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12 hours ago, ScottR said:

I does occur to me that you could glue that up square and flat, giving you better surfaces to route your various cavities from, and then remove from the top to get that shape the same amount wood you removed from the bottom to get it flat.

What would've been really interesting is if you'd left the two halves as a vee profile front and back. Kinda like a geometric version of @Andyjr1515 's 'sucked lozenge' carved body profile. Would've been a right bugger to work with though :P

 

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Thanks guys for the comments

@Andy - the method itself is one thing, but you can'y deny authorship of the tutorial :D 

The V guitar is prototyping several things that I'd like to have standard in my builds. The neck joint, the V etc

@Scott and Curtisa - the main reason for having the back flat is that the design is supposed to accommodate a Floyd - so the thickness in the center should be close to the standard 45mm. So no super-thin stuff here. Doing it the opposite way around is a bit painful with my skill & tool set, having one surface to plane at the back is somehow easier to manage. Plus remember that the idea is supposed to take drop tops too - gluing them on before joining the halves together.

Meanwhile, some progress.

I finished the tremolo stuff on both guitars. In the process I finally figured out (read: googled) how to drill the spring claw holes at a reasonably shallow angle in the cavity. Answer - the dremel extension tool:

TRQ_9415.thumb.jpg.716a9625ee0092298633c5038cb3aa48.jpg

So having routed all the cavities for the tremolo I could do a quick sanity check and see that they fit ok:

TRQ_9416.thumb.jpg.cf4e15c0282f5dce89d05b35383af326.jpgTRQ_9417.thumb.jpg.236ec8211eb24eb948d96732af5b2823.jpg

So now I'm shifting my attention to the necks: 

TRQ_9420.thumb.jpg.ffd5e7ab644f854375512da0bd61a479.jpg

After a few necks build by just having at it with a spokeshave and seeing what comes out I decided to finally exercise some control over the neck thickness - so this is my neck thicknessing jig. Chuck the neck up in the vice at a slight angle, such that running the router on the two MDF pieces produces the taper that I want. The idea is to then carve the sides leaving the center of the neck unotuched.

On the strat I figured I'd try something different and after doing the neck thickness I pulled out the 45deg chamfer bit and made this:

TRQ_9421.thumb.jpg.07a37fa8c29d2083f668b410102da215.jpg

So I'm using a trapezoidal profile as a starting point. Not sure yet where I'll take it, I never played a trapezoidal neck so I'm playing around with the neck in hand and trying to see what will be most comfortable. 

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15 hours ago, pan_kara said:

Plus remember that the idea is supposed to take drop tops too - gluing them on before joining the halves together.

I did overlook that ... and your idea is an absolutely brilliant idea for a way to accommodate forearm relief without folding or sacrificing the drop top.

SR

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will see how much of a relief this forearm relief will end up being.. i.e. we'll see about the final ergonomics..

Speaking of which - time to carve the strat neck. I always approach neck carving kind of randomly, I don't make profile cutouts or anything, I just play around with a spokeshave and feel around the neck to see what kind of shape seems "comfortable". I typically make it asymmetrical, thinner at the top, where my thumb typically lives. On my first build (the nylon string) I actually though for some reason that I mostly keep the thumb near the bottom edge so I made that thinner ...  

But now, I started with this trapezoidal shape, I guess the ease of just running the chamfer up and down seduced me. So without any real plan I started shaping the heel:

TRQ_9422.thumb.jpg.355d6a7443aa9b88a1c932710d71988b.jpg

TRQ_9424.thumb.jpg.67cbfdd9f1e9ce4dfc0ae182e3e756f3.jpg

after some time I figured it would make sense to carry the surfaces from the neck over the heel somehow and I got something like this:

TRQ_9426.thumb.jpg.1a35eafae089879cec7465fe9f8c51be.jpg

Then as I was trying to extend the edges of the trapeze to the heel I played with the neck shape a little bit and I adjusted it slightly. Basically I decided to keep the lower edge more or less the same throughout the neck, but also keep the flat spot constant width. This results in having the upper edge of the flat spot move away from the upper edge of the neck as we go towards the bridge (and the neck gets wider) so the angle of the side of the trapeze has to keep changing. It starts at 45deg at the nut, where the neck is asymmetrical, and becomes progressively flatter as we go up the neck. This actually feels quite good.

Here's an image that shows this to some extent:

TRQ_9430.thumb.jpg.28bb7e7e59d6f0974eaaa949c162e694.jpg

I think I'm gonna keep this shape for now, so I have to tweak the heel again to match this. This is work-in-progress, currently I'm at this:

TRQ_9431.thumb.jpg.9c4709a537d584d389a548def89ce95d.jpg

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I like that heel. It reminds me of a 1980's B B Rich mockingbird I once worked on.  Delightful to play at the upper frets. This bodes very well.

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Yea, I think it feels pretty good up the neck. I'm tweaking it more to have the trapeze edges extend over the heel - which sooner or later has to clash with the rounded-over bottom edge of the Strat body, so I'm having to blend everything together. But the upper surface of the trapeze (where I find my thumb often resting) is now also being extended onto the heel - I want to have a flat surface under the thumb for as long as possible.

I'll try to do a similar thing on the poplar top guitar now, there the design is sharper so I might keep more of the sharp edges. Knowing what I want to do before starting might also help :)

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Tiny update. I've been working on the neck profile for the poplar-top guitar and also on the heel transition. I'm following the same logic here - start with a trapeze at the nut, then follow the shape to the heel keeping the width of the flat horizontal part constant  and keeping the angle of the treble side slope constant, The angle and width of the bass-side slope is changing following this. 

Early version:

TRQ_9637.thumb.jpg.f252a48ea4f8c9a91bb2558cd436f794.jpg

Later version:

TRQ_9639.thumb.jpg.61cdf96480a4bd71956a3ade841d19af.jpg

Still not there, but getting closer.

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OK I think I've finally figured out how I want to arrange the lines and surfaces at the heel:

TRQ_9646.thumb.jpg.3b7799bddf09d6e8111a488062c628ad.jpgTRQ_9647.thumb.jpg.2089e83d34d2503aa9d0ca8cf47c11a9.jpg

I'm leaving it at this, with possible small tweaks and of course cleanup.

So next up was the humbucker rout. A simple thing that I keep having issues with for some reason. No matter how many master and master-master templates I make, with the next guitar I always have problems getting the pickup to fit in.

TRQ_9649.thumb.jpg.7d07481a354010e8b547aa8cb90c9f00.jpg

I guess I need to do some work on the templates again, but right now I'm at the point where the bridge pickup goes in ok. And this is as much as I want since the plan is to assemble the guitar and play it a little. Since in this guitar I'm prototyping several things that might end up as a regular feature on my builds I want to check the ergonomics. 

So I'm assembling a functioning "wiring" - the pickup and the output jack:

TRQ_9650.thumb.jpg.ed8b3759e468071dbc0f119bf3e6d95f.jpg

So here's the guitar in it's assembled state:

TRQ_9651.thumb.jpg.d1ba1cec812d2150c347b81d1ea758f7.jpg

I put some masking tape here and there to protect the body, plus I put a single coat of tru-oil on the neck so that I don't get it unnecessarily dirty when playing. The neck will be finished in tru-oil down the road anyway.

TRQ_9652.thumb.jpg.3ae3450ae0b7b2b82a5b294f87c4c9a4.jpg

I'm really liking how the neck transitions into the upper horn - that's where the thumb ends up for most playing in the highest positions. I'm beginning to think that this is one of the most important details for upper fret playing ergonomics, keeping the thumb stretched back as little as possible. 

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9 hours ago, pan_kara said:

I'm really liking how the neck transitions into the upper horn - that's where the thumb ends up for most playing in the highest positions. I'm beginning to think that this is one of the most important details for upper fret playing ergonomics, keeping the thumb stretched back as little as possible. 

Yes.

Nicely done, it looks great.

SR

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That's a pretty generous control cavity you have in this one. Any special plans you're willing to share?

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sorry to disappoint nothing special here in terms of electronics .. HH and maybe 3-way or 5-way blade Schaller, vol+tone. The cavity is actually the same template I've been using on most of my builds, maybe the body shape  shrank a bit making it appear bigger.. It does have some room overhead though, I can (and have) fit a piezo preamp and bettery in there easily. 

The bass is another story - in a moment of clarity I routed the control cavity using the template for the ledge for the cover ..  so now my stanard cover falls to the bottom of the cavity. Not sure yet if I'll be doing a new cover template pair or I'll try to glue something inside and route the proper shape in that... I have at some point to decide what kind of electronics system I want for the bass, I have nearly zero experience in that topic. Leaning towards something based on a passive J-type pickup arrangement.

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I like big control cavities. They're easy to work in and do a nice job of functional weight reduction.

SR

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so our best friend "template slip" visited me a few days ago and this happened:

TRQ_9658.thumb.jpg.3c151e99cd0f761b45a4107c15dcf76f.jpg

I ate 2-3 mm into the body, not sure if I'll be able to patch it without the repair being visible. I lookes if I can get another nice poplar veneer sheet to just replace the top but can't seem to find a decent one. Maybe I'll be able to patch something together from scraps. Then there's always the pickup ring option .. we'll see.

Before that happened I had a side project using an off-cut of the maple top from the bass that I'm building now:

TRQ_9641.thumb.jpg.93ef1266c41f8808044ff1a28a3a6e3c.jpgTRQ_9653.thumb.jpg.948c50e39ac1e5be52a9a91b3cd5dec1.jpgTRQ_9657.thumb.jpg.4bc172bf80a5405823366d22146a1cc0.jpg

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Your side project made me think of two options for your pickup cavity slippage. One is to make wooden rings out of your body wood and use some left-over poplar veneer on top of them, so your rings are the combination as the body. That would be minimally visible and look intentional at the same time.

The other idea would take some finessing to get right, but could look very cool. This would involve routing your cavities a uniform amount larger, say 3mm all the way around. Then carefully plug the cavities with a contrasting wood--high contrast or low contrast- your choice. Perhaps the same wood you used for the stripes in your neck, or your fretboard. Then route the cavities to the correct size again, leaving a contrasting outline around the edges of your cavities..

I suppose routing the cavities a bit larger and binding the inside edges would achieve a very similar look.

Good luck with whatever you choose to address the template slippage. I'm pretty sure that has happened to all of us.

SR

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Thanks Scott, these are some pretty cool ideas. I like the one with the extra wood block, not sure I ever saw something like this. Could look pretty cool! Too lazy for the moment, but it got me thinking for the future ... For the moment I went with a simple patch with another piece of the veneer, not invisible by any stretch but I hope some combination of pickup rings (wooden of course) and a black burst under them will solve this (never saw a burst around pickup cavities). Actually maybe plastic rings will poplar veneer to match the black burst..? Will have to see.

TRQ_9802.thumb.jpg.2ab175e8c229db4cd30c61df83b8ea5c.jpg

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4 hours ago, pan_kara said:

Thanks Scott, these are some pretty cool ideas. I like the one with the extra wood block, not sure I ever saw something like this. Could look pretty cool! Too lazy for the moment, but it got me thinking for the future ... For the moment I went with a simple patch with another piece of the veneer, not invisible by any stretch but I hope some combination of pickup rings (wooden of course) and a black burst under them will solve this (never saw a burst around pickup cavities). Actually maybe plastic rings will poplar veneer to match the black burst..? Will have to see.

TRQ_9802.thumb.jpg.2ab175e8c229db4cd30c61df83b8ea5c.jpg

From that photo, looks a pretty good save...

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